ADD International has a very special place in my heart.
ADD supported me as a beneficiary in the 1990s and now today, I have been selected to be the first President of this incredible organisation.
I was born in Zimbabwe, and when I was two I contracted polio and my right hand and left leg were impaired. I lived with my father who was a soldier and although he was strict, he made sure I could look after myself – he did not treat me like a child with disabilities.
I ran the house; collecting firewood, cooking and washing – skills that made me independent. The people in our village did not approve. They thought I should be sent to an institution for the disabled, but my father steadfastly refused. I studied hard and started my career in policy change-making.
I was lucky to be there when ADD was founded.
In a tiny meeting room in Bulawayo Zimabwe’s second largest city, together, with Chris Underhill ADD’s founder, and other visionary leaders. We wanted to change the way governments and organisations framed disability as a medical problem requiring ‘treatment’ and to focus on creating equality – a basic human right.
It has been an honour to represent ADD International as a member, and Chair of the board of Trustees for over four years, and now as ADD's first President. I’ve worked with lots of organisations and governments and ADD is unique because we stick to our mission. We are clear about our objectives and uphold our principals, in the good and the bad times.
Of course, we wouldn’t be here today without our supporters, allies and friends. I would like to say thank you to the people supporting us, thank you for standing with ADD during these difficult times. We need you now more than ever. We know you’re going through your own difficulties, COVID-19 has not been easy for anyone, so our thoughts and prayers are with you too. We hope your loved ones are safe and we hope you find it in your hearts to continue to support us.